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If unemployment forecasts hold true, Australia will have an oversupply of skilled workers by mid-2010, according to the Clarius Group.

The quarterly Clarius Skills Index indicates that skills shortages across most industry sectors peaked in the December quarter and are likely to fall over the next 18 months.

The Index fell to 103.1 from 103.5 in the September quarter, meaning that in real terms, the gap between positions available and candidates available to fill them shrunk by 10,000. (An Index of 100 indicates equal supply and demand.)

If unemployment projections remain on track – taking the rate to 6.1 per cent by mid-2010 – the Index will fall to the low end of the “balanced” range, somewhere between 99 and 100, translating to an oversupply of between 35,000 and 50,000 people in professional, associate professional and trades categories.

The biggest skills shortages in the past quarter, in descending order, were for:

  • chefs;
  • wood- and metal-related tradespersons;
  • automotive-related tradespersons;
  • health professionals;
  • building and engineering professionals;
  • hairdressers;
  • computing professionals;
  • construction tradespersons; and
  • building and engineering associate professionals.

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